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Yasha Levine

Stalin-Tea-Party

This article was first published on Alternet.org

“I would rather live under a bridge than live under socialism”

—tea bagger slogan

 

Everyone knows that Tea Party revolutionaries fear and hate socialism about as much as the Antichrist. Which is funny, because the Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that it owes its existence to the grandaddy of all Antichrists: the godless empire of the USSR.

What few realize is that the secretive oil billionaires of the Koch family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated the Tea Party movement, would not have the means to bankroll their favorite causes had it not been for the pile of money the family made working for the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, building refineries, training Communist engineers and laying down the foundation of Soviet oil infrastructure. (more…)

Posted: April 17th, 2010

wheelchair-first-rejection-club-yasha-levine

Faced!  Wheelchair-bound eXiled Editor Yasha Levine finds out that in Russia, provincial clubbing ain’t for cripples

Editor’s note: We reprint this eXile Classic, first published in The eXile on September 25, 2007, to commemorate Russia’s recent triumph in the Vancouver Winter Paralympics, in which it won more medals than any other country. And to think that just a few years ago, they weren’t letting cripples into IKEA. Authoritarian Russia sure has come a long way…

In the USSR, there are no invalids.”

This was the official reason that the Soviet authorities gave for declining an invitation to hold the 1980 Paralympics in Moscow. If you’ve spent any time in Russia, you might think they were telling the truth.

Other than a few token amputee Afghan vets begging in the metro or haunting traffic during rush hour, disabled people are simply not part of the Moscow landscape. After three years in Russia, I can count the number of wheelchair-bound people I’ve seen on one hand.

Obviously, just because they’re not out in public doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. If anything, it points to how bad the handicapped have it. There are approximately 13 million people living with serious disabilities in Russia, according to Perspektiva, an NGO that fights for disabled rights. Out of a population of 140 million, about 10% of Russians are considered handicapped. (more…)

Posted: March 23rd, 2010

Arnold

This story was first published on Alternet.org

 

“That, in your own backyard there, is the scariest place after New Orleans.”

Geologist Nicholas Pinder’s description of the precarious situation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta after the hurricane Katrina disaster.

 

Imagine the devastating flooding of Hurricane Katrina multiplied by epic sandstorms, drought and economic collapse of the Dust Bowl. Now picture it happening an hour east of Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley and spreading all the way down to the Mexican border. It’s not as far-fetched as you think. A routine 6.7-magnitude earthquake would be enough to set it off, liquefying the decrepit levee system that walls off California’s main source of drinking water from the Pacific Ocean and triggering a deadly flood that would submerge roads, destroy homes, wipe out thousands of acres of farmland, snuff out countless lives and possibly cut over 20 million Californians off from their water supply for a year or more. (more…)

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Posted: March 23rd, 2010

Mt. Whitney -- Owens Valley

This story was first published on Alternet.org

The city of Los Angeles recently announced plans to transform Owens Valley into one of the largest sources of solar power in America, outfitting the region with a massive energy farm that would span 80 square miles and generate up to 10 percent of California’s total electricity output. It truly is a monster, able to generate as much as 5 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 1.5 million homes, dwarfing China’s plans to build the world’s biggest solar farm by a factor of three.

The scale of this energy farm would make a solar panel manufacturer drool: while its total cost has not been disclosed, a test section 1/600th of the project’s final size is expected to cost $50 million. The hefty price tag is why L.A.’s Department of Water and Power (DWP), the city’s giant utility that will build and operate the solar farm, is eager to get cranking, afraid of missing its opportunity to tap into the lucrative government subsidies being handed out for solar and other green energy projects before they disappear. (more…)

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Posted: March 2nd, 2010

Check out this awesome 1987 “conspiracy theory” documentary called “America’s Secret Government,” which connects the Iran-Contra scandal to the secret post-WWII lives of Nazi officials in the US, the manufacture of the “communist threat” as a bullshit excuse to expand American business opportunities abroad, blowback from the CIA-led coup against a democratic Iran in 1953 and ponders if it isn’t unreasonable to assume that our own government had a hand in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Other than the whiney Jackson Browne intro, it’s almost hard to believe you’re watching PBS or any other American TV.

American politicians lying, cheating, robbing and conspiring against the American people? You can just hear the tea baggers screaming about this elitist, anti-American propaganda.: “No way man! Not Ollie North! He’s a great patriotic American and host of Fox’s of ‘War Stories.’ He’d would never do something like this! He was lying for our own good.”

Posted: February 14th, 2010

Tommy Feinstein

This story was first published on Alternet.org

California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein showed Californians who she really serves this past Thursday, when news emerged that she was trying to ram through a massive transfer of precious water out of the hands of millions of state residents, and into the private pockets of a clique of billionaire corporate farmers.

Here’s how the San Francisco Chronicle described the swindle: (more…)

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Posted: February 13th, 2010

cisco_on_car

This article was first published by AlterNet.

HESPERIA, CA—Say hello to the thing that could save our gas-guzzlin’ suburban lifestyle: affordable residential solar power that’s within reach of the most cash-strapped America consumer. This breakthrough is not a result of technological innovation, but a new financing scheme cooked up on Wall Street called a “residential solar lease,” a no-money-down, low-monthly plan that has made solar electricity cheaper than the stuff we get by wire. It’s an old approach to a new source of energy, and it is taking California by storm. (more…)

Posted: January 16th, 2010